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Airbnb & 5 Other Logo No-Gos

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airbnb-new-logo-widePhoto: Courtesy of Airbnb.
Airbnb is rebranding itself as a lifestyle company. The company wants to bring more of a feeling of belonging into its brand personality, and it's got a new logo to go along with that community vibe. Airbnb's founders unveiled the new symbol, which they've dubbed "Bélo," in a blog post. There's even a cute illustrated video about connection and sharing. The company clearly put a lot of thought into the symbol and the concept behind it.
The Internet has also put a lot of thought into Airbnb's new logo; specifically, how much of a fail it is. According to Adweek, some people think it looks like a vagina. Others note that it's almost identical to the logo of a brand called Automation Anywhere. The two companies even issued a joint statement to Valleywag asserting the similarity between the two designs is complete coincidence.
Brand experts, on the other hand, insist that all publicity is good publicity. "Ride the 'vagina logo' buzz," Adweek glibly wrote. Airbnb has been doing just that. It has stood by the new look, comparing it to the iconic Nike swoosh and Coca-Cola ribbon. In time, we're guessing the Bélo will become as commonplace as the Starbucks mermaid. And, what's a good logo if not a discussion point and a Rorschach test rolled into one?
Airbnb isn't the first company to attempt a rebranding only to be met with staunch public outcry. Take a look at these other famous brands' attempts to make themselves over.
In September 2013, Marissa Mayer led a team tasked with designing a new logo for Yahoo. She wrote a blog post about all of the elements and parameters the team wanted the new logo to have. There's even an annotated drawing of what's "cool/mathematical" about the design. It's perfectly fine, but the media latched on to a mock logo a Yahoo intern had designed as a much-preferred new look.
No one wanted to fall into this Gap in 2010. When the brand tried to upgrade to the above logo, which featured a smaller blue box and sans-serif font, there was a social-media revolt. Fans took to Facebook to say they would no longer buy Gap clothing if the company proceeded with the logo makeover. Although the company's president took to HuffPost to defend the redesign, the brand soon returned to the boxed-in logo we all know and love.
Eagle-eyed Redditors were quick to notice Google's infinitesimal logo change this past May. Don't worry if you didn't catch it. The search giant made a tiny, two-pixel-total adjustment to the kerning of the second "g" and the "l" so the bottoms of the letters would align properly.
Wendy's entered the folklore of logos with hidden messages (see: the FedEx arrow) when the chain refreshed its signature smiling redhead in 2012. Customers noted that when the design was rendered in one color on cups and bags, it appeared as if the word "mom" had been written on the girl's collar. Wendy's senior vice president of communications insisted it was unintentional.
We still haven't entirely come to terms with Sci Fi network becoming Syfy, even though it happened five years ago. R.I.P., correct spelling and little planet.
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